Tips for Choosing the Right Electives

Choosing between electives can be overwhelming if you don’t do your homework. Thinking about what you like, what you’re passionate about and what you want to learn can make the process much more straightforward, maybe even enjoyable. Check out our tips to help streamline your search for electives that you will not only enjoy but that will be of benefit to you and your learning experience, overall.  

Remember Your Passions

When choosing electives, it's important to consider what it is that you're passionate about. Taking courses in subjects that interest you can make your course load feel lighter and more enjoyable. That said, it doesn't mean you should shy away from trying new things. Courses that challenge or push you outside of your comfort zone could provide motivation and a chance to discover a new talent or interest. Choosing electives is also a prime opportunity to explore subjects you’re interested in but were never able to learn. You might develop a new passion and expand your horizons. Some students are even inspired to add a double major or to switch programs because of electives they've taken.

Explore Your Options

It’s simple – if you want to choose the right electives, explore your options. Ask your advisor, friends or other students about certain courses, including their level of difficulty, course requirements, etc. While choosing fun, interesting electives will prevent boredom, dissatisfaction, and the desire to drop the course, it's important to not just go searching for the easiest course you can find. Easy can sometimes be boring, too, making you less motivated to do attend class and do the required work.

Ask for Advice

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and in college or university, there’s no better help than your academic advisor. If all else fails, ask your advisor for course suggestions. Consult with him or her before selecting your electives and finalizing your classes. You could also ask friends or family for their advice or opinions. Moreover, student forums and social media are great spaces to learn about elective courses and all they have to offer. Online, you can read past student experiences and even find reviews for classes you’re interested in.  

Learn the Meaning of ‘Free,’ Area of Study and General Education Electives

It’s important to learn the difference between free, area of study electives, and general education electives. This will help you avoid taking courses that don’t apply to your degree or that won't be of benefit to you. 'Free electives' are flexible courses that generally don’t apply to your degree program and can be taken by anyone, at any time. 'Area of study electives' are obviously designed to fit your major and enhance your selected field of study. 'General education electives' are designed to offer you a working knowledge of multiple subjects.  These electives are great for not only enhancing your skills and abilities for your student and future career, they also encourage the development of certain skills. Some of the most important skills you might learn in general education electives include: self-discipline, teamwork, planning and strong organization. This will help you become proficient and adaptable to any work environment.

Think of electives as a way to broaden your horizons and don't forget that choosing between your options should be a fun experience. Make note of our tips and choose the courses that are right for you.

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